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The ironically named "Suffering Bastard" [Image: Stuart MacKenzie]

Dropping Anchor at the Northside Yacht Club

Northside Yacht Club is the latest spot to open in the booming Cincy 'hood of Northside. Is it on the water? No. Once you've had their delicious cocktails and amazing food? You won't care.

A labor of love launched by two local bar-industry and music-scene veterans, Stuart MacKenzie and Jon Weiner, the Yacht Club serves Tiki-style drinks and "elevated bar food."

THE VIBE:

NSYC is located in the space formerly occupied by Mayday (between Spring Grove Avenue and a couple of automotive businesses). Since the great flood of 1937, this whole area's been pretty much dry as a bone. However, once you walk into the gorgeously redone interior and venture out onto the spacious back patio, you'll forget all about being in the 45223 and feel somewhere decidedly more tropical. Between that singularly delightful sensation and the fact that staff members are always upbeat and welcoming, a visit to the Yacht Club is kinda like a mini-vacation, right in the urban core.

THE DECOR:

Months of blood, sweat, and tears went into the complete redesign of the space. A nautical theme prevails, with touches of local history (in the form of images from the aforementioned '37 flood). The Yacht Club features a brand new bar, completely redone dining areas and restrooms, and an upgraded, two-level outdoor patio, complete with a new Tiki bar.

Special touches add to the charm -- a lifeguard chair and sand pit by the entrance, a porthole window between the bar and dining room, bug spray available outside, and an aquarium. The guys used reclaimed wood, beautiful vintage booths, and several yards of sea-worthy rope. They even designed their own nautical flag.

THE DRINKS:

Weiner has made drinks all over town, from the Comet to the Drinkery to Japp's. On our visit, he whipped up a banana daiquiri that was, in a word, magical. He then dipped into the bar's well-rounded list of boat-themed drinks and made another specialty cocktail: "Suffering Bastard" (gin, brandy, lime, Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer, and angostura bitters -- all served in a copper mug with mint). If that's suffering, give me more!

Nothing is frozen or done from a mix. The Yacht Club uses fresh fruits, along with the best alcohol and mixers. And for those not inclined to umbrella drinks, the beer selection is stellar. There are 10 excellent brews on tap, as well as a wide selection of craft bottles.

THE MENU:

MacKenzie and Weiner recruited top talent to run their kitchen, including chef Ryan Whitcomb (formerly of Dilly Deli and Local 127, and sporter of a bitchin' Bill Murray tattoo) and a sous chef from Sotto. Mackenzie and Weiner proudly proclaim that they have neither a freezer nor a microwave -- the food here is fresh, handmade, and you can taste it!

On our visit, we sampled the poutine, the pulled pork, the shortrib grilled cheese, and the mac & cheese. Everything was delicious (and that's an understatement). Whitcomb uses unique combinations of flavors that take bar food to a whole new level.

They also do brunch (Sundays, 11am - 3pm). Can. Not. Wait. To. Try.

THE FUN:

MacKenzie and Weiner have hired Peyton Copes to manage the entertainment. In September, there's a full slate of fun stuff, from the Freddy Mercury birthday bash (a local tradition the club is resurrecting), to a comedy night, to live music at least three nights a week. There are plans for all sorts of future events, too. Stay tuned.

The takeaway? Get in your most sea-worthy vessel and drop anchor at the Northside Yacht Club.

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Northside Yacht Club is located at 4227 Spring Grove Ave. They're open Monday through Saturday from 4pm to 2am, and Sunday from 11am to 2am. For more info, visit the website or Facebook page.


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